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Harsher Punishments Planned for Drunk and Reckless Drivers

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Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul posted on his Facebook that he wanted the department to revoke drivers licenses of drunk and reckless drivers.

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The Transport Department has announced plans to discuss harsher punishment on drunk and reckless drivers in Thailand. His announcement comes following a directive from a deputy prime minister.

The Transport Department chief Chirute Visalachitra, said he would discuss the issue with the police, judicial authorities and the civil sector. His announcement comes after He Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul posted on his Facebook that he wanted the department to revoke drivers licenses of drunk and reckless drivers.

According to the director-general, public transport drivers will have their licenses revoked after repeated driving offences. For the wrongdoing of private vehicle drivers, a court will decide on the punishment. This will also depend on the nature of their offences.

Mr Chirute also said that his department was merging the land transport law with vehicle law. The new law would certainly include harsher punishment on drunk and reckless drivers. However the punishment changes through the new legislation would take times.

Drunk Driving a Serious Problem in Thailand

The Office of the Judiciary in Thailand has reported that over 18,000 motorists were sent to court on drunk driving charges from Dec 27 to 31. A spokesperson said said courts have been flooded by drunk driving cases.

Suriyan Hongvilai, spokesman of the Office, said they have seen 18,314 people found guilty of drunk driving. On New Year’s Eve alone, 8,744 were arrested for drunk driving and sent to court.

The two other charges keeping courts busy were driving without a license (2,947 cases) and driving under the influence of drugs (259).

Under Thai law, drunk drivers can face fines of up to 200,000 baht and/or 10 years in jail plus suspension or revocation of their driving licenses. But in many cases, the police and courts grant leniency.

In many drunk-driving cases in Thailand, drivers will be given suspended sentences. So they can go on living their normal lives as long as they don’t get caught again.

The WHO report indicated that 26% of road deaths in Thailand involve alcohol.

Chiang Rai Times recommends readers read Justice Impaired – Click here